COAD announces Labor-Management committee appointees

DOVER — The Correctional Officers Association of Delaware (COAD) announced its three appointees to the Labor-Management committee established by Gov. John Carney in late June.

On Wednesday, COAD president Geoff Klopp said he has reported to the Department of Correction that COAD secretary George McClure, COAD grievance specialist Sgt. David Townsend and vice president of the maintenance officers’ co-ed union Gordon Fletcher were to be the union’s representatives on the new committee.

“These guys have a lot of experience and background and they’re going to be able to come up with some great solutions,” said Mr. Klopp. “The things they plan to focus on first are addressing concerns about the correctional officer career ladder, 12-hour shifts and a new shift freeze policy.”

According to the Governor’s office, the new six-person committee will be designed to study ways to help recruit and retain officers and decrease the use of mandatory overtime in Delaware’s prisons.

Delaware’s state auditor reported in late May that the DOC gobbled up more than a third of the state’s total overtime pay in fiscal year 2016 and it’s on course to absorb the same — if not more — in fiscal year 2017. The report noted that three-quarters of DOC employees currently receive overtime pay. Those employees received about $22 million in overtime — 38 percent of the total amount of overtime budgeted for state government.

Mr. Klopp feels that the first step toward reducing overtime was raising starting pay — a measure the state recently adopted.

“This is a two headed monster — recruitment and retention,” Mr. Klopp said. “We’ve addressed part of the recruitment end with the starting salary increase Gov. Carney put in effect, but now we have to do something to retain people. As of July 1, a brand new correctional officer makes $40,000 per year. I just clicked off 29 years myself but I’m going to make $48,000 this year — so there’s a problem there.”

Mr. Klopp said the COAD is awaiting information on a start date for the new committee from the state. He believes that committee meetings will be private. The Governor’s office said Wednesday that there’s no “news to share yet on membership or meetings of the Labor-Management Committee.”

Both the DOC and COAD are allotted three appointees each to the committee.

The DOC was unable to provide any information on the status of their appointee selection despite multiple requests.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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